Jenni Groyon Hill, assistant principal bassoon, received her bachelor's degree in bassoon performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and her master's degree from Rice University. Prior to coming to Naples, she was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. Groyon Hill was co-principal bassoonist of the Iris Orchestra in Germantown, Tenn. for two years.
During college Groyon Hill was a member of the Prometheus Wind Quintet, which reached the semi-finals of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She was also a founding member of the Firewood Bassoon Quartet, which received no awards but was really, really fun. Groyon Hill has performed in many summer festivals, including the Tanglewood Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, New Hampshire Music Festival and the Sarasota Music Festival.
Groyon Hill currently spends her summers in Chicago, where she is assistant principal/second bassoonist of the Grant Park Orchestra. She can be heard on many recordings with the Grant Park Orchestra, including the critically acclaimed Portraits with Jennifer Koh, American Orchestral Works and the Grammy Award-nominated Robert Kurka - Symphony No. 2. Groyon Hill has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 2001.
Jenni Groyon Hill is underwritten by Kathryn & Arthur Knight.
Name: Jenni Groyon Hill
Hometown: Topeka, KS
At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 16
Who have been your greatest musical influences? All of my bassoon teachers; also Carlos Kalmar, the conductor at Grant Park.
Who are your favorite composers? Brahms, Mahler, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky.
What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? I would have said architecture 15 years ago; if I had to choose a new career now, I think I would be as a nutritionist.
What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? NPR podcasts – specifically, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and This American Life.
Your hobbies and interests: Running, tennis, watercolor painting.
Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: Cheese is my downfall. Maybe everyone knows that already.
Funniest concert moment: It was the seventh pops show of the week and everyone was getting a little punchy. We played Jaws and at the climax of the piece one of the orchestra members screamed like a little girl. Then another player reached under his chair and pulled out a shark fin he had made out of cardboard and duct tape and started passing it around the wind section.
Daily practice rituals: Scales, arpeggios, thirds, fourths, fifths. I have to switch it up and do my Oberlin scale and interval studies some days and my Rice scale and interval studies other days so I don't get too complacent. Also, I've been doing those Arnold Jacob breathing exercises every day lately. They help my tone production a lot.
The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and your answer): "Bassoon – what's that?" My answer: "It's the big, tall wind instrument. Sits next to the clarinets. Looks like a big wooden tube."
Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: The people. This is the nicest orchestra of all time. No drama, no politics, very little conflict.